In my experience with relationship and friendship apps, even if you are only looking for friendship, you will get hit on, unsolicited pics will be sent with no shame, and people will get hostile when they are rejected/ignored (@byefelipe). Making friends is hard enough as it is! It’s not surprising to me that people are looking for a more genuine platform. Patook—an app used for making strictly platonic friends—reached out to the Mack In Style team to test it out their beta platform. I think it’s a safe bet to declare myself as the most tech-savvy member of the Mack In Style team, currently I am working towards a degree in User Experience (UX) Design, therefore I feel very qualified to write this review.
How is Patook different from all the other apps you’ve tried? Patook uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to build a flirt blocker which identifies flirtatious and creepy messages. Even if they try, users can’t send romantic gestures your way. In the past I have experienced such advances, after a couple of weeks on the app I am happy to report that I have not received any flirty messages yet!
A preview of my Patook profile.
Here’s what I liked:
Profiles get specific about the kind of person you are. Features include: Drink/smoke preferences, political affiliation, friendship maintenance level, conversation topics, profession, pet peeves, activities, etc. Example, I would like a low maintenance friend who likes to drink/smoke (pot) and talk about music with. I would also like to bond over tearing down the patriarchy and hating people who walk slow on sidewalks, thank you very much! Patook celebrates uniqueness and lets you get creative with how to present yourself.
Helpful feature: Opening icebreaker, sometimes you like someone but you don’t know what to say first! Currently my prompt says “Start with an open-ended question and we’ll go from there”
Cute feature: Add your Myers Briggs type (holla @ me ENTPs)
Cool feature: Sexual orientation is not limited to straight or gay, there are EIGHT different options!
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Setting up a profile feels like a lot of work because of how specific you can get.
There is also a questionnaire. This allows Patook to get really specific and assign “points” for user traits. Example, if I’m looking for people who list museums, music, and sushi on their page, they get more points and appear higher in my matches. As a numbers illiterate person, this feature felt overwhelming and distracting from my user experience.
The visitors page shows who viewed your page, because there is no ‘It’s a Match’ moment sometimes it’s hard to understand if I have any connections or not.
A coin based system will reveal those who liked your page. This is a lot of work for a feature that is a standard across every relationship app I’ve ever used.
You can only add one photo. Pictures are worth a thousand words, how can you only have just one?
Patook is a cool idea and very ahead of the curve with the AI edge, I believe they have the potential to be successful where similar apps have failed to stay within the friend zone. The game-like structure of relationship/friendship apps is why users continue using them. Tinder has a monopoly on the swipe through a deck of cards concept, Bumble BFF has nailed the race against the clock. Patook needs to figure out how friendship (a daunting task) can feel effortless and appeal to our playful nature.